Estate Planning 101

An overview of estate planning, including discussions about intestacy, probate, asset ownership and estate taxes.

Ownership, Beneficiaries and Disclaimers in Estate Planning

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Today, we will again discuss how drafting wills and trusts are sometimes only part of the recommended strategy towards avoiding estate taxes.  Close inspection of your asset ownership, the naming of beneficiaries, and proper drafting of your estate documents are essential towards a complete estate plan. We discussed the mechanics of the A-B Trust plan…

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A Common Estate Tax Reduction Strategy

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Much of the motivation behind many estate planning strategies is to simply avoid as much in estate taxes as possible.  We only have a couple months left of freedom from federal estate taxes, as they are pretty much assured to return in some form by January 1, 2011.  Read more...

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Pennsylvania Estate Planning Differences: You Can Go Home Again

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I am pleased to announce that I have renewed active status as a Pennsylvania attorney.  While I have done so mainly due to a familial circumstance, I spent most of my first 21 years there, and also worked there as an attorney for an additional 5 years.  It is still home to me in many…

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Estate Planning Fundamentals

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So far, we have discussed many different aspects of estate planning in this blog.  However, if this site is supposed to convince you that estate planning is something that you should really get a handle on, then we should probably discuss some basics.  We’ll do so in a Question and Answer format:  Read more...

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Talking to Hear My Own Voicemail

Today’s post goes into significant detail my phone service.  However, please bear with me until the final paragraphs, as there is an actual estate planning point. My home used to have an easy phone set up – one phone line (hereinafter “Line 1”), one fax line (hereinafter “Line 2”), and two “distinctive ring” lines for…

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The Estate Tax: Should We Care?

The Federal Estate Tax has been in the news a great deal lately, mainly because there exists a great uncertainty as to its future. However, a high majority of citizens will never owe it, because one’s estate must be valued at quite a high level before any tax is imposed.  For example, up to one’s…

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Removal of the Personal Representative

Going through probate is especially difficult.  If you are a beneficiary, you were likely quite close with the deceased, and would prefer to have the whole process be over with.  But what if you are having problems with the executor, trustee or personal representative (hereinafter “PR”)?  Can you get rid of the PR?  How?  The…

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Estate Tax Effects on Cross-Owned Life Insurance

Today, Professor Beyer’s blog links to an article regarding the current status of the federal estate tax.  Unfortunately, many are left in a holding pattern while Congress decides whether or not to reinstate the tax before 2011.  If the tax is reinstated, it is unknown  if a decedent’s first $1 million, $3.5 million, $5 million,…

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Tenancy by the Entirety — Ownership Between Spouses

Today, we discuss tenancy by the entirety ownership in Virginia and Maryland. The discussion is obviously not an exhaustive restatement of the law upon which you can strictly rely, but is intended only as a broad summary.  Read more...

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Choosing Your Personal Representative

One of the most important tasks in preparing your estate is choosing who will fulfill the responsibilities of carrying out the closure of your assets and liabilities.  Once appointed, your personal representative (or “agent”) will have the fiduciary duty to act in your estate’s best interests.  Violation of this or other duties could result in…

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